THE MADURA NAYAKAS
A posthumous(?) grant of Tirumala-Nāyaka.
(75. A copper-plate record (C. P. No. 25) in the possession of a member of the
Śrīkaṇṭhākāśavāsi family of Jambukēśvaram belongs to the Madura Nāyaka ruler Tirumala-Nāyaka of the family of Nāgama-
Nāyaka. It is dated in Śaka 1584,
Śubhakṛit, and contains astronomical details giving the English equivalent A.D.
1662, March 24, Monday. As Tirumala-Nāyaka is known to have passed away in
February 1659 A.D. the present record which purports to have been issued in
March, A.D. 1662, ‘ while Tirumala-Nāyaka was ruling’, is open to suspicion,
unless it be that it had been issued earlier during the life-time of the Nāyaka ruler
and was actually engraved and granted to the donee later, on the day specified
in the copper-plate. It will be hazardous to lengthen the reign of this Nāyaka
ruler to A.D. 1662 on the strength of this solitary grant. In the present record,
it is also further stated that members of the Ākāśavāsi family were the kulagurus of the earlier Madura Nāyakas and a certain Śrīkaṇṭhākāśavāsi is said to have
been the recipient of five villages from his disciple Viśvanātha-Nāyaka. The
donee of this grant, Mahādēva-Dīkshita was a later member of the family
and was the spiritual preceptor of Tirumala-Nāyaka and received gifts of lands
in several villages. He was also the recipient of certain honours and privileges
in the temples at Jambukēśvaram, Mātṛibhūtēśvaram, Rāmēśvaram and
Chokkanāthapuram. No. 50 states that he died in Viśvāvasu (A.D. 1665-66).
It may be noted that the early Madura Nāyaka rulers were Śaiva devotees up to
the time of this Tirumala, and that the later members from Chokkanātha onwards
were ardent Vaishṇavites who lavished their patronage on the Śrīraṅgam and
other Vishṇu temples.)
76. Of Chokkanātha-Nāyaka there are three Telugu records (Nos. 102 to
104) engraved on the walls of the Garuḍa shrine in the Raṅganātha temple at
Śrīraṅgam. Two of them are dated in Śaka
1596 and refer to the construction of a shrine
for Ashṭabhuja-Gōpālakṛishṇa between the Kūrattālvār and the Viṭṭhalēśvara
shrines, apparently in the fifth prākāra, by a certain Chinna-Bomma-Nāyuḍu of
Madura, and to the gift of land made for providing worship and offerings to this
deity and to the image of god Raṅganātha while halting in front of this shrine
during festivals. The third record dated in Śaka 1593, Virōdhikṛit (No. 103), is
damaged and registers a gift of land to the temple by Pradhāni Chōḍi-
Aḷagādri, son of Kāpa-Nāyaka and grandson of Chōḍi Aḷagādri-Nāyaka. No. 105,
dated in Śaka 1596 has also to be attributed to the same Nāyaka ruler though
his name is not mentioned.
77. The next Nāyaka ruler Raṅgakṛishṇa Muttu-Vīrappa figures in No. 106
engraved in the same Garuḍa-maṇḍapa. It is dated in Śaka 1613, Pramōdūta (A. D.
1690, September 8), and refers to Vīrapratāpa Vīra-Dēvarāya-Mahārāya ‘ruling at
Ghanagiri’, as his overlord. There appears to be some mistake in the name of
the Vijayanagara suzerain as quoted, since there was no king of that name about
this period except Veṅkaṭa III whose rule was however confined only to the
Bellary district (Sewell’s Hist. Ins. Of S. Ind., p. 290). It is possible that he was
identical with Veṅkaṭa III or his son Śrīraṅga for whom records dated in A.D.
1690 and 1692 are known. The inscription registers the restitution of certain
rights and privileges in the Raṅganātha temple to Kumāra Veṅkaṭa-Varadā-
chārya, son of Varadāchārya and grandson of Āchchi Śrīraṅga-Nārāyanāchārya
of the Gārgya-gōtra, which had been in the enjoyment of the family from the
time of Uḍaiyavar (Rāmānuja) but had lapsed when some of his ancestors had
proceeded to the northern parts to participate in religious disputations with
the Śaivas. From this record, it is clear that this Nāyaka ruler was alive
till at least September, A.D. 1690, though according to the Mṛityuñjaya Manuscripts his last date is said to have been A.D. 1689. This corroborates the date
given for him in the Maduraittalavaralaru.
Labelled sculptures of some Nayaka chiefs.
78. The names of a few Nāyaka chiefs and officers are mentioned in the
labels (Nos. 126 to 129) engraved on four pillars in a maṇḍapa on the bank of the
Koḷḷiḍam river, a mile to the east of the
Raṅganātha temple, which is known by the
name of the Ellaikkarai-maṇḍapa on account of its situation near the boundary
wall separating the dēvadāna lands of the Ranganātha temple from those of
the Jambukēśvaram temple. Crude portraits of some of the persons mentioned